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Meet Roberto Jay, rising Wisconsin actor, filmmaker and writer

By Freddy Moyano

Born and raised in Milwaukee, Roberto Jay developed a love for films and acting at a young age, when his parents encouraged watching films as a family.

“My acting began when I was a kid. My mom would take me to local commercial auditions, and industrial gigs for bigger corporate companies,” Jay said. “But a serious, conscious dive into the profession of acting began when I made the decision to pursue representation, out of college.”

Filmmakers James Cameron and Steven Spielberg played a big role in his decision to pursue a performance-related education, which included writing creative stories since his elementary school days.

Jay obtained a Bachelor’s Degree in Theater Arts with a focus on Performance Studies at UW-Parkside.
By that time he was far from a novice in audition rooms.

Roberto Jay, right, booked a stage role in Joseph Jefferson’s nominated play, Last Hermanos, at Chicago’s Red Orchid. Jay played the radical of two brothers facing deportation. Fadeout Media/Red Orchid Photo

Jay said a confident mindset and having fun are paramount values to develop.

He learned this well after auditioning years ago for a role in Chicago Fire.

“I remember thinking I needed to spend all the time I needed to feel comfortable going into the room… that I had to be word-perfect… but was I having fun? Or did I just want to book the job” Jay said.

He said he ended up getting a callback, but he did not get the role.

With Chicago Med the odds were more favorable.

Jay said the difference was he took time to research the show and become acquainted with his character.

“I made the scene my own,” Jay said. “You must have fun in what you do and what you present. Let that be your guide.”

Jay’s recurring work playing Dothan in Showtime’s hit series American Rust (2021) brought his acting career to another level.

Jay is also known for his award-winning supporting role as Logan in indie film Blame (2021), which screened in Green Bay last year.

Jay is of the opinion markets like Chicago—where he has been living the past few years—are a great way to get your feet wet in the industry.

“Do get started within the theater community,” Jay said. “This is where you will meet many of the working actors within the city – actors working on bigger stages, TV/film sets.”

In recent months, the actor of Puerto Rican/Italian descent wrote, produced and acted in Moon Talk, a short film that has collected some awards this year.

It will premiere at the Tarlton September 3.

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